Honghe Bridge

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Honghe Bridge
Yuanjiang River Bridge
元江大桥
Red River Bridge
红河大桥
Yuanjiang, Yunnan, China
540 feet high / 165 meters high
869 foot span / 265 meter span
2003


The Honghe bridge is one of 4 massive continuous rigid-frame bridges that opened in Western China’s Yunnan province between 2003 and 2009. Three of the bridges are similar in height while only the Honghe bridge carries 4 lanes of traffic. Located about 120 miles (193 kms) south of Kunming on a modern highway that will eventually extend to Bangkok, Thailand, the Honghe is the highest bridge on the route, rising 540 feet (165 mtrs) above the Yuanjiang River. Within Vietnam the waterway is called the Red River and the two names are interchangeable. As awesome as its height is, Honghe is equally impressive for having one mother of a main span, stretching 869 feet (265 mtrs) between the centerline of the piers. There is no beam bridge anywhere in North America this large.

On the southeast side of the bridge there is a privately owned Honghe visitor’s center, park and bridge overlook with a cultural center, meeting rooms, walking paths and a playground. Or as the official center brochure states, “The ‘World’s Highest Bridge Scenery’ embodies traveling & touring, consuming, entertainment, restaurant, hotel, meeting and other functions”. While I never did notice the hotel, this unusual place did have a succession of 3 suspension footbridges that leap down the hillside to several viewing spots overlooking the bridge and river valley. Most bridges in China are simply named after the river they are crossing. Honghe is unusual. It was named after a regional cigarette company that pays a licensing fee. For reasons unknown, a Google map search simply will not go to Yuanjiang so just look for the G213 Yuyuan Expy crossing of the Yuanjiang River.

If you want to get down to the river and see one of the monstrous piers up close, there is a very rough dirt road that descends to the Yuan river. It will not be easy to find without asking locals for directions. The road finally ends at a river bridge crossing that is closed to traffic. You can walk across this bridge and follow a riverside path to the Honghe bridge. Be sure to say hi to the old man living in the house right under the bridge!


红河大桥是中国西南部省份云南在2003至2009年之间开通的四座特大连续刚构桥之一。其他三座桥虽然也在高度上与之相当,但是,仅有红河大桥是四车道桥面。位于昆明之南120英里(193公里)处,并且是在将来规划可以通往泰国曼谷的现代化高速路上的红河大桥,是在该条干线上最高的一座桥,高高耸立在元江之上265米高处。同样和其高度一样令人敬畏的是,红河大桥在主跨也相当惊人,两主墩中心线间距离长达265米。北美地区可没有如此之大的梁桥。

在大桥东南方向的远处,有一个私有的红河游览中心,设有公园、大桥观景平台,文化中心,会客室,漫步小径,大片运动场地。或者正如官方宣传册上所言,“世界第一高桥”景点,旅游观光,娱乐休闲,餐饮住宿,等等。尽管我并未见到宾馆,但是该地却有连续三座人行悬索桥,将人们引入山坡下方的许多可以饱览大桥和元江胜景的地方。中国很多大桥的命名都是以桥梁所跨越的江河来命名。红河却不同。该桥的命名是当地一家赞助建设大桥的卷烟厂命名的。

如果你想到河边上去亲眼近身看看雄浑的大桥桥墩,前往江边的道路确实相当的崎岖泥泞。即使问当地的路人,想找到下去的路途也并非易事。这条通幽曲径最终在一座已经关闭的危桥前面停住。行人可以徒步通过封闭的小桥,然后沿着江边的小路一直走到红河大桥之下。记住,一定要和住在大桥之下的房子里的老人家打声招呼哟~



Honghe Bridge Elevation


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A local farmer lives right under the Honghe bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


An aerial view taken soon after completion. The Yuanjiang River level is much lower in the winter.



Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Honghe Bridge construction view circa 2002


A view of the Honghe bridge soon after completion. The Yuanjiang River runs red. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A map of the Yuanjiang / Red River in Southwest China and Vietnam.


Welcome to the Honghe house! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


One of several suspension bridges that descend down the hillside at the visitors center. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Honghe Bridge visitors center brochure.


Honghe Bridge visitors center brochure.


Honghe Bridge plaque with all the facts and figures. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com

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